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Publix pauses on new store plan
The city and developers of the site where the store would be face a suit over a road closure.
By ALEXANDRA ZAYAS, Times Staff Writer
Published January 26, 2008
TAMPA - A sign that announced a new Publix earlier this week near WestShore Plaza has disappeared.
It was removed soon after it was posted, said Shannon Patten, media and communications manager for Publix.
"I cannot confirm at this point there will be a Publix," she said. "We are still working on different aspects of the contract."
She did not go into detail.
The site in question, off Ward Street and Kennedy Boulevard, is slated to become a mixed-use retail commercial project and would replace a Goodyear tire store.
But the matter is tied up in a lawsuit.
About 20 Beach Park residents filed the suit in Hillsborough Circuit Court on Dec. 12 against the city of Tampa and developers Kennedy Square Investors and Kennedy Plaza LLC.
Their beef: The City Council granted the developer's petition to close Ward Street in November, and are suing to get the street reopened, according to the lawsuit filed by attorney Mark K. Straley.
Developers had the street closed at the request of some residents, who worried about cars cutting through their neighborhoods.
But other residents who filed the lawsuit called Ward "an important local road that has been used and enjoyed by the public for 100 years." The lawsuit references several city officials who advised against closing the street, including Melanie Calloway, of the city's traffic division, who said during a City Council hearing that Ward should remain open because residents felt access to the neighborhood was restricted.
Because the developers included the vacated road in their rezoning plans, the lawsuit also calls for the rezoning to be reversed.
Assistant City Attorney Gary Glassman was reviewing the lawsuit Friday, and declined to comment on it. Straley could not be reached.
Times correspondent Sharon Ginn contributed to this report. Alexandra Zayas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 813 226-3354.